Blue Mondays

Workers are turning to antidepressants as a consequence of challenging market conditions.

Some 10 per cent of employees have sought support from their doctors and 7 per cent have started taking antidepressants for stress and mental health problems brought on by the recession, says mental health charity Mind.

The research also finds that half of workers have lost sleep due to work, with only 38 per cent believing their employer is doing enough to support them. Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne says: ‘The recession is a good time for businesses to be working on promoting staff wellbeing. You’ve got to look after your staff. If you haven’t got staff, you haven’t got a business. It’s as simple as that.’

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, adds: ‘Businesses who take care of their employees reap the rewards in reduced sickness absence and increased productivity. Small changes can have big results, such as making sure staff take their breaks and making time to listen to their concerns.’

The charity estimates that employees taking time off due to mental health problems could be costing businesses up to £26 billion a year.

Of 2,050 workers surveyed, half said staff morale was low, with 28 per cent admitting to working longer hours.

This follows the latest government statistics, which found that antidepressant prescriptions rose by a record increase of 3.2 million last year to 39.1 million.

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